McLaren has a surprise for us at this year's Monterey Car Week. The brand unveils the Solus that takes inspiration from open-wheel race cars. The company is making just 25 of them and every example already has a buyer. Deliveries begin in 2023.
The Solus packs a Judd-sourced 5.2-litre naturally aspirated V10 engine that makes 829 bhp (840 PS / 619 kilowatts) and 479 pound-feet (650 Newton-metres). It revs to 10,000 rpm, and the powerplant is a structural element of the chassis. McLaren is targeting the vehicle to reach 62 miles per hour in 2.5 seconds and have a top speed of over 200 mph (320 kph).
Gallery: McLaren Solus
The model uses a seven-speed sequential gearbox with a casing that mixes aluminium and magnesium panels. The rear suspension mounts to the transmission.
The Solus weighs less than 1,000 kilograms (2,205 pounds), but the body is capable of making over 1,200 kilograms (2,646 pounds) of downforce. To make this possible, aerodynamic pods surround the wheels. Plus, the front splitter sends air to ground-effect tunnels underneath the body. The engine's radiators are in the sidepods that are part of the rear quarter panels.
The suspension consists of double wishbones at both ends. The front bodywork exposes the pushrod-operated dampers, and there are pullrods at the rear.
The Solus seats a single occupant, and the canopy slides to let the driver step into the vehicle. Each one is bespoke to the buyer because McLaren works with the customer to mould the seat and its fixed location to the specific person. Like an open-wheel racing car, the steering wheel includes the essential controls and displays for the instruments. The roll hoop and halo protection structure are 3d-printed titanium.
The 25 buyers get a full racing experience that includes a driver-development coaching programme, an FIA-homologated racing suit, helmet, and a bespoke HANS device.
The Solus is currently in the track-testing phase of development. The buyers get access to prototype drive sessions where they can offer input into the vehicle's evolution. When the process is complete, these folks will get access to special track events. Plus, a flight case will include tools, jacks, stands, radio sets, and a coolant pre-heater, so they'll be able to take the machine to other events.